How can disease influence the development of a country?
Development issues in sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa is the world's poorest region. Within this region there are some counties that have made good progress at reducing poverty. Countries such as Mauritius and, to a lesser extent South Africa, have seen improvements incomes, health care and education. However, the region has the highest infant mortality rates in the world. These are starting to come down but it is still a key population issue for Africa is to reduce infant mortality and improve primary health care.
Investigating the impact of malaria
Malaria is spread by mosquitos carrying a parasite that infects a person when bitten. It is an entirely preventable disease. However, every year 300 million people get malaria resulting in over 1 million deaths worldwide. Malaria is a health threat in tropical regions of the world. Around 40% of the world's population live in areas where malaria is endemic (i.e. malaria is constantly present) but 90% of deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa.
The map below shows the deaths from malaria. The bigger the country the more deaths from malaria.
Case study of malaria in Malawi
Malaria is one of Malawi's most serious health problems. In Malawi, the risk from malaria varies across the country and also throughout the year. The shores of Lake Malawi provide ideal breeding conditions for mosquitos, with warm temperatures and stagnant water. The highland areas are generally cooler and drier. Here, malaria is seasonal with cases reaching a peak during the rainy season when ditches and puddles quickly form and attract mosquitos. Around 83% of Malawi's population live in rural areas. Deaths from malaria are significantly higher in rural areas than they are in the cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe. Houses in rural areas are constructed of mud bricks with thatched roofs and offer little protection from mosquitos.